To all the lovely people,
A few more days and it will officially be winter. I'm sure, like me, you have been enjoying the rain and the life it is bringing from the soil. It is not too late to sow cover crop but last month would have been better. If sowing cover crop is not your thing then just spreading 2"-4” of mulch or a bale or two of straw (or better, alfalfa) over the garden and letting it remain in place until March will add humus and nutrients for the organisms in the soil to feed on and grow in number by the billions. By spring when you dig into your soil it will feel softer and easier to work and your seeds and plants will do much better. No matter if you grow or sheet your soil cover you will save water in the upcoming garden season.
Roses can begin being pruned starting next week (December 7 as one respected expert says). If you haven't already done so spring blooming bulbs can be planted - it is not too late.
Please write if you have any garden questions.
Happy gardening and happy holidays.
December To-Do List: Zone 9
- Apply lime-sulfur spray to peaches and nectarines to combat peach leaf curl.
- Apply a dormant oil spray to fruit trees to kill insects and eggs.
- Sow winter cover crops, including annual rye grass (Lolium multiflorum), fava beans (Vicia faba), oats, barley, pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum), or proso millet (Panicum miliaceum).
- At month's end, plant perennials, shrubs, and trees.
- Also at the end of the month, begin to prune established deciduous trees and shrubs to remove crossed and diseased branches and to open up the center to light and air.
December To-Do List: Zone 10
- At the beginning of this month, start cold-loving veggies, such as Brussels sprouts and English peas.
- Most citrus fruits ripen now—remove and compost old fruit or use for slug traps.
- Feed mangoes a shot of compost tea as soon as flower spikes appear.
- If rainfall is scarce, provide at least 1 inch of water per week.
- If frost threatens, be prepared to protect plants with row covers.
- Keep harvesting beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, greens, onions, potatoes, radishes, and melons.
To all the lovely people,
I know this is a little late but we have been away. I hope all is well in your garden - we are harvesting loads of tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, hot peppers and more. And starting the apple harvest. We have been busy outside and in. Last week we attended the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa and it was very good - we met some great people and shared with them and learned about new things. Please write if you have any questions.
To-Do List for Zone 9
- Plant winter lettuce, peas, carrots, cole crops, and Asian greens.
- Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost, when their skin is hard enough to resist pressure from your thumbnail.
- Set out transplants of calendula, primroses, larkspur (Consolida ambigua), snapdragons, bachelor's buttons (Centaurea cyanus), stock (Matthiola incana), and pansies.
- Refrigerate spring bulbs for 6 weeks to plant later this fall.
- Pick ‘Bartlett' pears for ripening indoors, but allow Asian pears and ‘Seckel' pears to ripen on the tree.
- Protect grapes from birds and wasps by covering the ripening clusters with brown paper lunch bags.
To-Do List for Zone 10
- Prune poinsettias for holiday bloom.
- As grasshopper numbers die down, plant tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa), gloriosa lilies, amaryllis, and other subtropical bulbs and rhizomes.
- Plant okra. It's your last chance of the season.
- Seed cucurbits and herbs, and set out transplants of tomatoes, peppers, and onions.
- Repair or replace drip irrigation lines.
- Work in soil amendments, including compost, bonemeal, and greensand.
Your Autumn To Do (and Don't) List
As the air gets cooler, your gardening priorities change.
Gardening in the late summer and early fall can barely be called working. Cooler, crisper days and the knowledge that time outdoors will soon be limited gives every task a bittersweet flavor. That said, there's still plenty to do, so don't waste time on unnecessary chores. We've taken the work out of deciding what to do for you. No need to thank us; just have fun out there.
Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Fall is the perfect time to plant; the weather is cooler, rain more plentiful, and the soil still warm. Plants put out terrific root growth, giving their above-ground growth a head start in spring.
Clean up foliage from roses, peonies, and any plant with diseased foliage. But don't compost; the pile may not get hot enough to cook the pathogens.
Get a soil test. The labs aren't as busy, so you'll get your results sooner, and once you incorporate the amendments (except for nitrogen; apply that in spring), the soil will settle over the winter.
Divide spring-blooming plants such as iris, brunnera, dianthus, lamium, and primrose. Later bloomers that can also be divided include black-eyed Susans, geraniums, daylilies, hostas, coneflowers, and yarrows.
Don't do that:
Don't cut down dead stalks of purple coneflower, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers, and other plants whose seeds or berries feeds birds through the winter.
Don't remove logs, brush piles, or dead groundcover; leave it for beneficial insects such as spiders, solitary bees, lady beetles, and other beetles to overwinter in.
Don't plant these trees in fall: magnolias, birches, firs, hemlocks, ginkgos, or ornamental pears. They root slowly, so they may not survive the winter.
Don't put your leaves out with the trash. Either bag them and let them break down over the winter, or go over them with the lawnmower and rake the shreddings into your flower borders./h2>/h1>
To all the lovely people,
Here is the June Garden New from the National Gardening association.
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
June, 2014 Regional Report
Plant Summer-Blooming Bulbs
It's not too late to plant lilies in your garden. Select a sunny spot in a wind-free area. Plant the bulbs 3 to 4 inches deep in fast-draining, rich soil. If they don't bloom this year because they went in late, they will bloom next year for sure.
Fertilize Summer Vegetables
Use liquid fish emulsion to fertilize summer vegetable crops. The organic fertilizer works the same as the chemical alternative, only more slowly. Organic fertilizers won't burn foliage.
Provide Nesting Material
Nesting birds will appreciate short pieces of yarn, string, dryer lint, and moss for their homemaking chores. Place nesting material in net bags and hang from tree limbs or lay on the ground in a protected area. The more birds you have in your garden, the less insects you will have.
Group Plants for Vacation Care
Before you leave on vacation, soak indoor plants well. Place them all in the bathtub on a damp towel. Set the baskets on an overturned pot or bowl so that their bottoms don't touch the towel. Don't leave the plants in total darkness, but close the curtains if possible. Large plants should be left on the bathroom floor with a damp towel under them. Mist or shower the plants once they are all snuggled into the bathtub. By keeping them in a low-light situation, they won't use as much water. They should be in good shape for up to two weeks, but they'll be very thirsty on your return. Fill the bathtub and let them soak for a half hour or so.
Fuchsias bloom on new growth. To keep them looking spectacular throughout the summer, pinch the tips from the ends of the branches once the flowers begin to fade. Fertilize with 14-14-14 every three to four weeks during the growing season.